In fiction, it's much more probable that you'll see a cop eating a donut than anyone else, except for Homer Simpson or Vash or Merry Nightmare. The cop guarding your jail cell will be dunking their donut with pink frosting in their cup of coffee. The cop in the stakeout will have a half-empty box of donuts in their car. When taking a break from driving, they're hanging out at the donut shop.
In more humorous displays, the cop might react to a donut as Scooby-Doo would to a scooby snack. It might be the reason for them to have joined the force. Heck, in fact, "Officer Donut" is a casual insult for a cop. In fact, they could be so obsessed, they might be bribed to do anything for donuts.
The reasons for this are actually not all insulting. Cops will usually consume lots of coffee, because it's necessary for them to stay awake during the night, and the donut is usually a sweet to dunk in the coffee or to remove its bitter aftertaste. Donuts are also ready-made and stored in boxes - a good food to store in patrol cars for a long time, as they don't melt or get inedible when old (depending on the recipe, some may only be edible for a few hours). They also tend to be both filling and cheap, and as donut shops tend to open early, for a while they were among the few places open for someone working the graveyard shift. Donut shops also tend to give out free donuts to law enforcement, partly as a public service and partly to encourage cops to hang around (and robbers to stay away).note This is illegal in some jurisdictions, as it is considered a form of bribery.
As donuts are fattening sweets, the cop munching them will usually be a fat, lazy, moustached Obstructive Bureaucrat. (Strangely, they never get glaze or frosting in their mustache...)
As for corrupt cops, just remember that Evil Tastes Good - as do donuts.
While this might be Truth in Television, it could probably be seen today as an Evolving Trope. If anything, a cop might be hesitant in buying donuts because of the inevitable stigma associated with them. On the other hand, The Red Stapler effect comes into play. On their first round, a rookie might buy some donuts for the station, believing that all cops love them. But then, everyone does so it's fair.
It should be noted that this is primarily an American/Canadian based trope as donuts are nowhere near as popular with the police in many other countries. (British Coppers, for example, tend to go for chips - which is to say in American, french fries - instead.)
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The English Gag Dub of Ghost Stories invokes this when the kids go to the police: "Drop the Krispy Kreme and listen!"
Harvey Bullock's love of doughnuts (see Western Animation examples below) carries over from his original appearances in the Batman comics.
Oddly enough Sergeant Slipper in The Beano can be seen having a donut doughnut.
Lampshaded in Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter is chasing Ultimate Carnage across the city, and we cut away to two cops walking away from a donut shop. Then Carnage lands in front of them and kills them before Peter can do anything.
"This is why you gotta love the second shift."
"It's why you love the second shift."
"You cannot get fresher. The frosting is still cracking."
An AFLAC commercial featured two cops describing AFLAC using an analogy with a donut.
Some years back, a local commercial in the Orlando market featured the then real-life Orange County Sheriff and several of his deputies chowing down at a particular 24-hour restaurant. The tag line had the good Sheriff pointing at the repast before him and exclaiming, "This is why cops don't eat donuts anymore!" (The spot was quickly pulled after protests that such a commercial endorsement by a law enforcement official was highly inappropriate.)
The Foundation For A Better Life's "Honesty" ad - where a boy appears to steal a purse, but in reality chases down its owner - in the extended version, the cops that he appeared to be running from offer the boy a donut when they see him give the purse back.
The infamous "Trunk Monkey" ads have one where the titular critter tries to bribe an officer away from giving a ticket to his owner, first with cash, then with a donut. It doesn't work.
In the Jack Chick tract "Murph", Murph and his partner Donovan are having donuts, and Murph complains about always being called away when he orders one. As Murph is dying from gunshot wounds sustained in the robbery, Donovan brings him a sprinkled donut.
A coffee commercial (can't remember the name) has one of the people praising the coffee be a cop who, after praising it, whispers that he doesn't like donuts.
In A Sirius Matter Sirius drove his motorcycle, which was charmed to be invisible to the police, at 200 MPH past a car containing "two overweight cops" who "continued munching on their donuts."
In an early scene in RoboCop 3, a rather pathetic hoodlum charges into a donut shop to hold the place up, and is suddenly covered in glowing red dots. He looks around in confusion and belatedly notices all the uniformed police officers/customers pointing their laser-sighted guns at him. This was even lampshaded by the clerk sarcastically commenting to the hood, "So what's it like being a rocket scientist?" Then the main plot kicks in, and they leave him just standing there, pleading "Isn't someone going to arrest me?"
The police car in Doug's First Movie has a vanity plate that says "DONUT-1"
In Mars Attacks!, cops are seen fleeing from a donut shop being blown up by Martians.
Smalls: You wanna find an outlaw, you call an outlaw; you wanna find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop.
Die Hard refers to this one as well: Sergeant Carl Winslow Al Powell buys a massive pile of Twinkies for his pregnant wife. The store clerk harasses him about it.
Clerk: I thought you guys just ate donuts.
The cop in The Santa Clause had a donut that Charlie proceeded to stuff into his mouth after the elf commando squad tied him up.
There's also a very quick "blink and you'll miss it" moment earlier on. When the cops are preparing to go on a manhunt for Scott and have the town mapped out, in the corner one of the key sections underlined is that of a donut shop.
In Evil Ambitions (released on DVD as Satanic Yuppies) an obnoxious donut-eating cop attempts to keep Mc Gavin the heroic reporter from the scene of a Satanic sacrifice. When outwitted, the cop takes an angry bite from his donut.
During the chase scene finale of Con Air, two Red Shirt cops join in, dropping their donuts to do so.
Rush Hour has a scene early in the film which has Clive telling a couple of cops he's having a standoff outside a diner to "get back in the diner and buy some donuts" while holding Carter hostage.
Doyle in The Mask. We also had a warden dunking his donut.
In Whos The Man, Denis Leary's character, Sgt. Cooper, attempts to stop Doctor Drťnote Andre Brown, the MTV VJ, not to be confused with rapper Dr. Dre from ever eating a donut again, all because he calls himself "Doctor". He proceeds to taunt Drť by letting his partner Ed Lover have all the donuts he wants.
In Blue Streak, Martin Lawrence's character is a jewel thief pretending to be a robbery/homicide detective in order to retrieve a diamond stolen years before and hidden in the building. At one point, he sees a box of donuts and happily grabs one, only to put it back with the words, "I'm not a cop."
George Stacy: "Do you think we just sit around and eat doughnuts all day?"
All Dogs Go to Heaven 2: Charlie and David distract a large group of cops by announcing that a truck with fresh donuts has arrived outside the police station.
In Beverly Hills Cop after Axel is released by the local police because he is just "on vacation," he sees the two officers staking out down the street from his "borrowed" hotel room. He sends them coffee and doughnuts, ultimately paid for by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
In The Fugitive, after taking over the investigation from the obviously incompetent local PD, Marshall Sam Gerard orders them to search every farmhouse, henhouse, doghouse and outhouse within a 4 mile radius. Then he asks for a doughnut with "some of those little sprinkly things on it."
Bobby: Didja ever hear the saying, Never rob a bank thatís across from a diner that has the best donuts in three counties? Stig: Thatís not a saying. Bobby: Yes it is. Stig: No itís not. I get what youíre saying, but itís not a saying. Bobby: Itís a saying. Stig: Alright. Bobby: Itís a saying now.
As revealed in the 2016 Sly Cooper movie trailer, the Cooper Gang try to steal donuts when Murray begs for some. But when the donut store closes...Sly steals donuts from cops, causing them to get chased. Even Bentley yells "Why can't we just order pizza like normal people?!"
In The Dresden Files book Small Favor, Harry requires some donuts to bribe a faerie and asks Murphy to get some. She's offended until he explains exactly why cops eat donuts, pretty much the same as in the page description. She grudgingly accepts this and tells him which car they're in. (She says that she prefers granola bars herself - similar advantages but healthier.)
Harry likes doing this to Murphy. In "Something Borrowed," the following dialogue ensues:
"I'll pay you in donuts."
"Dresden, you pig. That cop-donut thing is a vicious stereotype."
"Donuts with little pink sprinkles."
"Professional profiling is just as bad as racial profiling."
"Yeah. But you know you want the little pink sprinkles."
Once every few novels of the In Death series, someone is bound to bring a box of donuts into "Cop Central." Usually it's intrepid reporter Nadine Furst, who routinely bribes her way into Eve Dallas's office by this method, but sometimes it's just "someone brought donuts."
In the Tamora PierceProvost's Dog books, Beka Cooper, a Guardswoman (or "Provost's Dog"), dines on "fried dough spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg", which she later describes as "dough knots". Her partner Tunstall also has a fondness for stopping at the local bakery stall on the slightest pretext in Terrier, which are not strictly donuts but close enough.
Rare British example: The Ankh-Morpork City Watch, in the Discworld novels. Captain Vimes has a doughnut at Harga's House of Ribs in Men at Arms (and describes the recipe in full, to express his annoyance at Harga's literal-minded response to his asking for coffee "black as midnight on a moonless night"). In Thud!, it's mentioned that Sergeant Colon and the ex-Watchmen who come in to chat with him get through a lot of doughnuts, but it's worth it for the information. In Night Watch it's mentioned that one of the reasons Ankh-Morpork-trained watchmen are held in such high regard is that they don't accept bribes, apart from the occasional free beer and doughnut. And in Unseen Academicals, one character refers to the Watch being annoyed about breaking up a riot because it would be keeping them from the doughnut shop. Of course, while Discworld is a British creation, it takes its tropes from everywhere.
But for the most part, Watch members prefer foreign takeout, partly because that's what usually comes with coffee in the setting.
Everyone Jo knows from Da Chief to her cabbie buddy Gary knows her favourite types of drink and her favourite pastries from the local donut shop in The Walker Papers.
The shtekeleh, a Filipino-style Chinese donut in The Yiddish Policemens Union. Tears come to the detective protagonist's eyes when he realises that nothing in his life is better than eating one of them.
The Cardassian constabulary in the Star Trek: The Fall novel The Crimson Shadow enjoy "ikrit buns", which are described as having a sugar coating and fruit filling.
Dexter - the title character offers donuts to his coworkers, many of whom are cops. They don't last very long. The donuts, that is. This is all part of his "I'm just a harmless nice guy" facade.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 ended Experiment 409, "The Indestructible Man" with a pair of police officers instructing the SOL crew to never again make a police/doughnut joke. Joel, Servo and Crow actually signed a contract swearing that the would never make a cop/doughnut joke again. According to the Amazing Colossal Guide, they've remained true to that since.
Although in season 10, Servo has a dirty cop refusing to stop at a Krispy Kreme so as not to "advance the stereotype."
In Experiment 618, "High School Big Shot" during the short ("Out Of This World," the one where good and evil vie for a breadman's soul) Mike makes a cop/doughnut joke.
Sawyer: A doctornote Jack playing golf. What's next, cop eatin' a donut?
In Heroes, Eden uses her persuasion powers to make Matt sit in his patrol car all night eating donuts, because "That's what you guys do, right?". When his colleague sees him, he complains that Matt is "a walking cliche".
In Friends, when a cop asks Phoebe out. Gary says, "Don't worry, I'm not just gonna take you out for donuts." Chandler laughs, and everybody else stares, befuddled. Chan explains that it was a bizarre form of self-defense: "He has a gun!"
Chandler made his own donut joke when Phoebe first found Gary's badge. It got an awkward silence, and he quickly admitted he could do better and asked for a do-over.
Ken Titus: You built me a cop magnet! I might as well be a black guy driving a large powdered doughnut!
In one episode of Good Eats, Alton is trying to smuggle muffins to his incarcerated brother B. A. (who wanted a cake with a file in it, but that's irrelevant) when a cop catches him. Alton distracts him by throwing a muffin, then remarks, "Huh. I thought it only worked with donuts." Interestingly, it doesn't work with English muffins.
Hill Street Blues, where Bobby Hill goes to meet an attractive reporter to try to talk to her about her somewhat unfair reporting of their day's shift, which basically showed them every time they had something silly happen or were waiting for something. The two of them end up having sex, and so, then, she feels for Hill, so now, it only focuses on Hill's partner Renko, every time he stopped to buy donuts and left any disparaging video of Hill not used.
Then the next time she follows them around, she gets film of Renko running into a burning building to save a child, so she apologizes for her previous reporting on the air, and says as long as he does stuff like that, he's entitled to all the donuts he wants.
Used in a teaser for Psych where Gus questions where Shawn managed to find a donut at a crime scene. As Shawn gives less and less probable answers, the camera moves to show a box of donuts that was carried by the covered victim.
The season seven finale has Obstructive BureaucratJerk Ass Harris Trout bring in donuts for the team as they explain to him their mishap with their latest case,, only for Trout to throw the untouched donuts into the trash mid- story. Even Reasonable Authority Figure Chief Vick reacts in horror.
Bosco: No powdered sugar on your shirt, Sully. What, Krispy Kreme burn down?
Referenced by Buffy when, on Career Day, various people suggest she could join the police force. She's not enthusiastic.
In Law & Order, a pair of detectives were interviewing a donut store owner about seeing a suspect. The owner didn't see anything. Then, they showed an officer who just happened to be eating a donut saying that he saw something.
On an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a group of terrorists left a box of donuts full of high explosives for the cops to find. It didn't work.
In a recent episode of Special Victims Unit the man Benson is seeing asks to meet he at a donut shop. She tells him that he really knows how to woo a cop.
Sledge:I would like to address that particular stereotype if I may. Now, your stereotypical donut is nothing but dough and sugar fried in fat, am I right? Now that fat gums up your arteries and goes to your brain, and you turn liberal. And the next thing you know, Barry Manilow is on the turn-table and you're not going to work and you're voting for gun control. You see what I'm saying? You see the connection? That's why I eat granola.
The A-Team: When Murdock and Face are captured, they bluff their kidnappers into choosing a Donut Cafe as a meeting point. Once inside, the two simply get up and walk out of the Cafe, calmly asking the Gangsters what they're gonna do, shoot them in front of all the Cops?
Played with on Cold Case as Det. Vera is pissed that someone ate his Tasty Cakes, which are a Hostess-esque brand of snack cakes that are mainly sold on the East Coast and are especially popular in Philadelphia.
On an episode of My Nameis Earl, a beleaguered cop explains that his food gets spat on a lot, and it's hard to hide a loogie on a donut.
On The Mentalist, it's traditional for Lisbon's team to have either donuts or pizza following the successful closure of a case.
In Twin Peaks, the protagonist FBI agent Dale Cooper sees a spread of donuts at the police station and exclaims "A policeman's dream!".
In the very first scene of the pilot for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Detective Jim Brass quipped that he wanted to get out of the crime scene quick so he could "catch the first rack at Krispy Kreme".
In one episode of Kenan & Kel, Kel got a job at a donut shop. Kenan's father pestered Kel for a free donut until Kel decided to give him one only to activate an alarm and accuse Kenan's parent of donut theft. Kenan's parents were arrested by cops who were there as customers.
One episode of Monster Garage involved turning a police car into a rolling donut shop. A police official said that the conversion was a good idea as it would allow officers on patrol to stop for a snack without leaving their vehicles, "but it's still wrong."
Once Upon a Time does this, Graham, the Huntsman/Town Sheriff, brings in a box of donuts to Emma, the deputy. Emma gives Graham a flat stare, and he responds "Some stereotypes are true."
In Supernatural a fellow law enforcement officer sources the joke. As part of his Establishing Character Moment as a scarily effective, no-nonsense man, FBI Agent Victor Henriksen responds to a local cop's assumption that the FBI would be working with the police on stopping the serial-killing, grave defiling Winchesters with "you can go eat a donut and bang your wife for all I care!"
In The Pretender, Jarod discovers donuts while pretending to be a policeman. A delivery guy correctly guesses that Jarod is a cop (at the moment) when he sees the many, many boxes of donuts in his house.
The Australian comedy series The Late Show has this as a Running Gag in Bargearse (a Gag Dub of 70's cop show Bluey). The episode "Where's My Bloody Donuts?" has the overweight Detective Bargearse investigating the theft of ten dozen jam donuts from his lunchbox.
Da Chief: "According to this report you've eaten over 64,000 donuts in the first five episodes alone!"
At the start of Moriarty's crime spree in episode 6 of Sherlock, DI Lestrade is relaxing in his office with coffee and a doughnut. He doesn't get to finish it.
In The FlashPilot Movie, Barry had to steal two cops' entire in-car supply of doughnuts because of his Big Eater requirement for his speed powers.
COPS: The subject of a joke and lampshade hanging in one episode when a pair of cruisers investigates a call to a closed (and burglarized) doughnut shop in the middle of the night. The cop that the camera was riding with can't help chuckling and pointing this out to his coworker.
While Ryan of Castle was having a juice fast, Javier was eating a doughnut in front of him. Ryan snapped at him for being cliche and fought him for the doughnut.
Brad Paisley, in his song "Mr. Policeman," taunts the cop chasing him: "There's no way you're keeping up with me / Just go on back to Krispy Kreme."
The "Smoked Pork" skit from Body Count's self titled album.
House of Pain's "Jump Around" features the line "Feel it, funk it / Amps in the trunk/ And I got more rhymes than there's cops at a Dunkin' Donuts..."
The music video for "Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys had a scene where the cops stopped for donuts.
Ice Cube's song "Say Hi To The Bad Guy" has a particularly dark take on this trope.
The music video for the song "Stylo" by Gorillaz features a donut munching cop giving chase to a speeding car driven by the band members. To be fair, the only reason he stops was because Cyborg Noodle was popping shotgun shells into his police car and causing it to crash through a billboard. Said cop gets taken away by the Boogeyman to hell before he could reach for a nearby box of donuts.
A concert poster for the band Cop Shoot Cop depicts two policemen dueling over the last doughnut.
Ben Folds' song "Rent a Cop" mentions whispering lewd comments about women through his doughnut.
In the music video for The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" two cops come into the store while the teens are causing havoc but instead of arresting them just grab a donuts and coffee then just leave.
According to Scott Adams, one Dilbert strip he wrote featured Dogbert with a cop who would shoot a victim who was conveniently off-panel. The syndicate didn't like it, saying it was too violent. Adams rewrote the strip so the center panel would be replaced with "BANG BANG BANG" instead of the cop shooting. This didn't work, as it wasn't the act of shooting but the image of the cop holding the gun that was too violent. The published strip featured the cop holding a donut and shooting bullets out of that, giving rise to the term "Dangerous Donuts".
In The Getaway: High Speed II, the second ball is locked by having the player pull up to Donut Heaven, where a police car happens to be taking a break.
There's even a secret Mania Mode that can be invoked when three cop cars are present.
Safe Cracker lets you collect donuts to distract the guards with.
In Mustang (Stern), "Police Pursuit" begins with a driver racing past a cop at a donut stand.
Gabriel Iglesias was once pulled over by a cop in a Krispy Kreme parking lot for exiting the wrong way (in his haste to get home and eat up). The policeman asked the obligatory "You know why I pulled you over?" He answered, "Yeah man, 'cause you could smell it!" The cop got enough of a kick out of that to let him off with a warning.
Another time he was pulled over by a cop who happened to be a big fan. The excited cop said "Wait 'til I tell everyone I met you! This is even better than the time a buddy of mine pulled over this fat guy who gave him donuts!"
Canadian comedian Andrew Grose once pissed off a Tim Horton's (Canadian coffee and donut chain) enough to get them to threaten to call the police. His response was to get out of there immediately, because "even if they were just bluffing, the police are likely on the way there anyway!"
Also, the radio dispatcher on the emergency radio asks "Is there an officer near the Rusty Brown's downtown? There must be."
Also in the Half-Life expansion Blue Shift you play as a security guard (not quite a police officer, but close enough). At the beginning of the game (where you can wander around some areas of the complex for a bit before all hell breaks lose) one of the scientist NPCs might say "Why are you standing around? Shouldn't you be guarding some coffee and doughnuts right about now?"
Before that, you're required to go to the gun range to pick up your side-arm. In the range are two fellow security guards: one using the range for its intended purpose and one who's simply there to eat a donut.
In the final showdown in LEGO Island, you need to help the cops catch the Brickster. You can launch donuts at them to give them a speed boost.
Maya: That security lady is in the guard station stuffing her face with donuts! I guess all cops like their donuts!
Phoenix: Yeah, and they're soft enough she doesn't need teeth to chew them...
Donuts are mine-type weapons in Operation Inner Space, which don't do damage, but cause those who pick them up to spin out temporarily. They're especially effective against the Enforcers, who will usually go out of their way to catch them. In fact, grabbing a donut that an Enforcer is after is actually a crime (albeit a minor one).
Lost Member: It's a donut shop. We can take out half the force in this city with one good blast.
Hitman: Blood Money extends this trope to FBI agents. A difficult mission that tasks you to assassinate a man under heavy FBI guard (he's in the witness protection program), and by far the easiest way to accomplish this is to plant a pack of donuts injected with anesthetic (or poison, if you're feeling mean) outside the unmarked FBI surveillance-van, knock on the door, and run away. The FBI-agent pops out, goes "Ooooh, donuts! Score!" and then proceeds to share them with his partner... leaving you with a conveniently closeable surveillance-truck where you can check out the cameras, and safely change into your brand-new FBI-uniform.
If you don't leave the donuts and knock, the FBI agents will eventually steal them from the catering truck on their own.
A small lampshade hanging also occurs if you hide at the side of the van, you see a pair of feet below the vans backdoors and hear "Ooooh donuts! Nice... Full disclosure: We're actually FBI".
Absolution plays it straight by having one of the ways the player can make a cop disguise more convincing to the NPCs is to eat donuts out of a box left laying around.
In Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (or at least in the Xbox port thereof, renamed Return from Darkness), there's an unlockable mission for Rikimaru that involves him going through a portal into the future. Most of the people he's required to kill are cops/security guards, and as they're dying, their last words are, "I see donuts...donuts from heaven."
In Postal 2 you could lure cops away by throwing doughnuts at the floor.
Also, finding and putting on a cop uniform causes the Postal Dude to say "Someone stole my donuts, and now you're all going to pay!".
Sam & Max: Freelance Police: While never actually seen eating doughnuts, Sam and Max have a box with one, ancient uneaten doughnut in it. Sam comments that there's a microscopic civilization on there. Eventually one of their "Continents" is blown up with a tiny nuclear missile.
In Chaos Overlords, the super heavily armed police that sweep through city sectors that players have overexploited have a stereotypical donut with pink frosting and sprinkles in their auxiliary equipment slot.
The tutorial from SWAT 4 is a traditional assault course which ends in a debriefing room... Only, the new team leader (you) has left a box of doughnuts on the table, to the delight of the others.
Blast Corps has a level with a donut shop with a police car parked in front of it.
In MadWorld, donuts are used to distract the enemies in Area 66, who are essentially sci-fi tinged policemen/security guards. Agent XIII even notes that donuts are the vice of every law enforcement officer.
One of the recurring character in the Fuun Series is Gordon Bowman, a fat cop. Nearly every last one of his pre-fight conversations in Savage Reign involve donuts.
Carmageddon 2: One of the missions has you deal with a whole team of cop cars, because you blew up their favorite donut shop.
In one of the Mass Effect games, a Turian C-SEC officer (cop) talks about how much he loves donuts. Apparently, this trope is strong enough to exist on both sides of Mirror Chemistry. There's a corporate security guard (close enough?) on Noveria with a similar line.
One of the side missions in Driver: Parallel Lines involves outlasting a police pursuit. How do you initiate this? You guessed it. Ram a donut stand.
Steve the Sheriff 2: The Case of the Missing Thing had a series of "fun facts" which were revealed by finding the cigar hidden in each location. Fun Fact #19 was that a particular convenience store sold Steve's favorite "cop car snacks:" pies that fit in your pocket and a "copper's dozen" of donuts (which happened to be thirty-six).
In the Atari arcade game APB, the player gets extra time when they drive through a donut shack. Driving over donuts along hidden pathways will also net bonus time. Destroy a donut shack by plowing into it, and the player receives one demerit.
In the 2-D game of Neuromancer a cop at "Donut World" tells you that civilians aren't allowed in donut shops.
In Burrito Bison Revenge all of the "corrupt" cops are carrying donuts.
In one of the many conversations you can have with people in Scarface: The World is Yours, Tony asks the Crockett and Tubbs wannabes what sort of donuts they like. They both indignantly react to such accusations, but "Crockett" sheepishly admits to liking powdered donuts.
One of the missions has Tony wanting to buy a donut shop. The owner agrees to sell, but only if he can get rid of the cops who are always trying to get free donuts and coffee from him. Tony hijacks a police car and leads them on a chase that proves lethal for the cops.
In Emperor Rise Of The Middle Kingdom the flavor text for the Watchtower mentions your watchmen fortifying themselves with hot tea and sweet pastries before going on patrol. The implications are clear.
The "Police Provisions" case in Another Case Solved involves locating a particular donut shop for a cop with a sweet tooth.
Here Is A Question had this happen when Reno got arrested for murder and learned she got her potential sentence bumped up from five years to twenty-five◊.
Reno: Oh come on, it was a JOKE. And I had NO idea that you hate donuts.
In the Rick and Morty episode "Rick Potion #9", several donuts can be seen on the ground next to the dead policeman when Jerry grabs his rifle.
Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons. But, then again, Donuts are popular with other characters as well. Still, he's the only one who threatened someone with violence because of some donuts that fell on the sewer.
In one of the Treehouse of Horror episodes, Homer - due to an encounter with The Devil - has his head turned into a four-foot-wide donut. As a result,the Springfield Police Department lays siege to his house, cups of coffee in hand, waiting for him to emerge.
When Homer wants to find a fancy donut cart all he does is call 911 and the police promptly call out a massive search complete with helicopters. Once they find it and the donuts are already sold out Wiggum pulls out his gun and threatens the owner.
In the episode where Marge becomes a cop, she's seen having coffee and a donut for breakfast while her family eats more regular breakfast fare.
In the special Springfield's Most Wanted, each desk has a box of donuts.
American Dad! - Roger wonders if there's a donut shop nearby when a bunch of cops appear. The currently drunk Stan doesn't get it.
Roger: Cops already? What, are we next door to a freakin' Krispy Kreme?
Stan: You're thinking about donuts now?
Roger: No, I'm just saying the cops got here fast.
Stan: What the hell do fast cops have to do with a Krispy Kreme?
The episode "Cop Out" has a fat and lazy cop sitting in his patrol car eating donuts and bragging about what a great cop he is while his partner is across the street foiling a bank robbery. On the way back to the station, he got donuts from practically every donut shop he found, including one that also sells chinese food. And he's still eating donuts back at the station when Da Chief gives him the Turn in Your Badge speech. The cop then hands over his gun, which Da Chief tells him to keep as a "souvenir"...and asks for his donut instead.
During the opening scene of The Movie, as the narrator pans over shots of a crime-ridden Townsville, there's a shot of several police cars parked outside a shop with the sign "Donut Thing".
Subverted in Sealab 2021: Quinn tries to get a cop to leave a crime scene by throwing a donut away from it, even speaking to him like a dog ("go get, get it!"). The cop then tells he's diabetic, so Quinn just tasers him.
Harvey Bullock from Batman: The Animated Series's love of donuts goes without saying. There's one scene early in the show's run, in "Pretty Poison", where most of the police rush out of headquarters in response to some emergency and he lingers to grab one. Twice.
Also, "Sins of the Father", Tim Drake's origin story, begins with him stealing a whole box of them from an elderly cop, then using them as improvised weapons against Two-Face's thugs.
While the main food of the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Short Order Crooks" is Cheddarhead Charlie's Cheese Chowder, an early scene has Officers Kirby and Muldoon picking up a box of donuts at the diner. Ma's donuts are highly praised, though Ma suspects they just come there because it's conveniently next door to the station.
In Courage the Cowardly Dog Courage once distracted a cop from his evil package by throwing a donut down the subway train. He came back anyway, mouth covered in frosting.
The Powerpuff Girls movie has the cops portrayed in a ''bad'' light. Before the girls came along, crime was rampant, and we see the reason...during every crime, the police were at the DONUT SHOP.
In one episode of Funky Cops, Ace gets a new partner, a fresh academy grad, when Dick is incapacitated.
Ace: So what do they teach you at the academy these days?
Dash: Uh, I, uh... could we get some donuts?
Ace: Heeey, that's what they taught me, too.
In an episode of Dan Vs., a cop eating a donut watches Dan and Chris chasing a little boy down the street. He continues to eat his donut, then realizes, "Oh yeah, I'm a cop!" and goes after them.
One scene from the Pixar animated shortTokyo Mater involved Mater luring a Japanese police car into a donut shop while attempting to beat the villain to the top of Tokyo Tower as part of a drift race. Since the characters are cars, the donuts are of the stunt variety.
Subverted on an episode of Birdz. Officer Pigeon buys a box early in the episode, but after losing his job due to Eddie and Sleepy's interference, he throws them at the bank robbers to stop them and admits that he doesn't eat them because "they're bad for you".
In Osmosis Jones, Ozzy tells Drix he has police work to do. The next scene, he orders donuts(?) (one glazed, and one with a jelly-filled nucleus) from a cell that has a donut for a face before calling the Memory Center and asking about "El Muerte Rojo" The white-blood-cell precinct is also right next to the donut shop.
A Cow and Chicken episode featured the Red Guy as an orthodontic policeman forcing everyone he meets to wear huge braces. One of his victims is a cop who laments being unable to eat donuts because of his braces.
In The Mighty Ducks, the heroes cop ally, after being knocked out, is able to revive and get the drop on the bad guy... after a donut rolls by his nose.
A literal version of this was seen on an episode of Garfield and Friends as a plot device. In that episode, Garfield tries to warn a cop about a bank being robbed. The cop ignores this and goes to a donut shop instead. To make him realize that the bank is being robbed, Garfield puts the message "Bank Being Robbed" in his donuts. The cop soon notices and goes off to find the robber.
What's with Andy?: during careers week, a kid is told by the cop he is partnered with to memorize the different kinds of donuts there are, since this is a crucial aspect of becoming a real cop.
In the "Makin' Bank" episode of She Zow, Guy uses a donut truck to slow down his police officer dad and his dad's partner so he can restore his size and his superhero identity.
"Bad Cop, No Donut" adorns many a T-Shirt of anti-authority youth.
This also exists as a bumper sticker, popular on pickup truck rear windows, where a cop can't not see it.
They also make ones that say "Police Headquarters" in the orange-and-pink Dunkin' Donuts logo font.
Protestors sometimes taunt riot police by dangling donuts from the end of (usually improvised) fishing poles.
A regional joke in Massachusetts revolves around the fact that Dunkin Donuts (and we mean any Dunkin Donuts) is the worst place to rob after a gun shop. A Starbucks, on the other hand, is a good target. (The joke is that the cops are mainly from working class backgrounds and hang out at DD, while Starbucks is seen as the place where college kids with lots of money and other snobs go.) Ironically, most cops just get coffee these days and avoid the donuts.
This is true to the point after the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013 and the citywide manhunt and subsequent lockdown the Dunkin Donuts in Boston were among the only businesses that stayed open in order to accommodate all the law enforcement personnel in the area, since it was seen as a vital service.
Amusing subversion in a few of Detroit's nicer suburbs (Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills): the cops all hang at Starbucks, despite the presence of several Dunkin Donuts and Tim Horton's within the city limits or the next suburb over.
It's also worth noting that, traditionally, Dunkin' Donuts had a reputation for having just about the awesomest coffee in the universe, even if you weren't buying any donuts. Granted, that may be less true these days since specialty coffee shops have become so popular.
Helsinki, Finland has a similar joke referring to an ABC gas station which happens to be one of the few such places open 24/7 in the downtown. As a result, it's the go-to place for downtown police officers and also patrol security guards in the area. They provide free coffee for both.
A 1994 MIT "hack" had some students secretly place a fake police car on the top of the Great Dome on campus. Inside, a mannequin dressed as a campus cop had a box of donuts nearby.
A T-Shirt guide shows that the best way to avoid a cop is to throw a donut at him.
There's been at least one real-life case where the attempted robbery of a doughnut shop has been thwarted by at cop who just happened to be there purchasing doughnuts at the time.
Which is how this trope got started. Dunkin' Donuts decided that, to keep their employees safe during the Grave-yard shift, they would offer cops free donuts and coffee. For one reason or another, they don't do it anymore, but this example is the reason why the trope got started.
While they may not be allowed to offer free coffee and food anymore, places like Dunkin' Donuts and Waffle House continue to be popular with cops on overnight shifts because they generally have reasonably clean bathrooms (necessary after that fifth cup of coffee on a shift) and a nice-sized table that makes it much easier to spread out and work on paperwork there than trying to do the same in a squad car.
There's also this joke:
Cop: Excuse me sir, your eyes are bloodshot. Have you been drinking?
Driver: Officer, your eyes are glazed over. Have you been eating donuts?
In Clare, Michigan, a police station bought and run a donut shop that was on the verge of closing down. They called it "Cops & Doughnuts". Link
In the 90s, Atlanta-area radio DJs Randy and Spiff had a "contest" called "Cop In, Cop Out", wherein they scouted a donut shop, then challenged the caller to guess whether there was a policeman in the store or not. Saying "Cop In" was pretty much a sure thing.
This article is a story about a donut delivery truck being hijacked and chased by a minimum of nine officers from four agencies in a half-dozen cruisers. The company donated the stolen donuts to the arresting officers.
A joke once detailed that when a Cop goes to Hell, he must make a decision: Bullets or Donuts.
An Alberta city in the early 90s saw an internal police memo leaked to the press where, to avoid people believing this trope by seeing the Tim Horton's parking lot full of police cars, officers were asked to park down the street and walk.
Infamous doughnut run by Albuquerque police. Using a helicopter, no less.
A small arcade in Marina Del Rey, CA had a recurring problem with gang fights, so the strip mall's proprietors designated a parking space for police vehicles. Unfortunately, they chose the one directly in front of the adjacent donut shop, making it a local Running Gag for years.
Subverted in many communities where breakfast tacos are a favorite treat; breakfast tacos also taste delicious with coffee and there are many opportunities to grab a taco anytime, day or night (and they taste as good at 10:00 PM as they do at 10:00 AM), so tacos are the cop's best friend there.
Tim Hortons, far and away the largest coffee, baked goods and fast food chain in Canada, was founded by the hockey player Tim Horton, but his first investor and franchisee was Ron Joyce, a police constable who frequented Horton's shop on his beat. After Horton's death, Joyce took over the chain and expanded it into the empire it is today.
Instead of paying for security, Tim Hortons offers free menu items to members of Law Enforcement, encouraging police to frequent timmies.
When a Krispy Kreme opened up in one NJ town, the mayor joked it was like having a second police station.
In Portugal, the bifana◊ (a marinated pork sandwich), normally accompanied with a beer and sometimes with french fries, is the stereotypical policeman's treat.
In Mexico, Policemen eating Tacos with a cool soda is the local version of this trope, or sometimes replace the tacos with burgers or burritos. On the other hand, a Mexican policemen eating donuts is considered unusual, as donuts are more expensive in Mexico than in the U.S. and Canada.
This news story has a case of a cop going about double the speed limit to get to a local donut shop, which is almost an unintentionally stereotypical as you can get.